Plantagenet latest small town to lose its bank
For the first time in well over a hundred years, Plantagenet, Ontario will soon be without a bank.
RBC Royal Bank has announced plans to close the branch in this small community east of Ottawa by mid-December. Accounts will be moved to the bank’s branch in Rockland, about 20 minutes away.
The decision has upset many residents. “It’s like a nightmare for me and also for a lot of other people,” says former bank employee Francoise Chretien. “It’s the talk of the town.”
Chretien says the closing will hit seniors hard. They might not feel comfortable either banking on line or making the trip down the highway. “The government is asking people to stay in their homes longer, but this is not helping,” she says.
Luc Lalonde runs local hardware store, Lalonde Lumber. He calculates the time and fuel it takes for an employee travel to Rockland will cost him about $100 a trip. “My employee, I want him in the store not on the road,” he says.
Like residents in other small towns before them, many in Plantagenet fear the bank closure represents the erosion of their small town way of life. It will be one less reason for people to do business, or even live there. “We want to keep people here,” says Jean-Yves Lalonde, Mayor of the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet. “We want to grow. It’s something that’s quite important for us here in Plantagenet.”
A meeting is planned with RBC representatives Thursday night at the local community centre. In a statement, RBC Royal Bank spokesperson Chris De Vito says, “…we are inviting clients to attend an information session to discuss this change to their banking routines.”
But residents are hoping to convince RBC to change its mind, and keep their only bank open.